In my previous post, I outlined how we achieved a very respectable 12th place in our second season in Serie A. The consequence is that we have another season to accumulate finance to develop all aspects of the club.
The Board agreed to improve both the training and youth facilities, which underpins my strategy of developing youth players and improving senior players to sell for large profits. This had already borne fruit last season when we sold Cedric Teuchert for £7.5m and Max Christiansen for £2.7m.
Until the club is established in European competitions, selling to buy for a profit would have to remain a core strategy.
In this post I will look at:
- Youth development progress to date
- Summer transfer activity
- Performance in my third season
- A change of club
As mentioned above, the Board have agreed to improve the youth facilities, to help accelerate the development of my U20 and U18 squads.
In an earlier post I wrote about my plans for youth development at US Triestina, so I wanted to provide an update on how things were progressing. As mentioned in that post, I had to cull a large number of players who I didn’t feel had the necessary attributes to remain with us. This meant that we had a very small squad, but it was also my intention to use the U20 squad to maintain match fitness for my squad players, rather than use players that would never make the grade with us.
We would also need to scout and acquire young talent, rather than relying on an intake of players each season but I am very comfortable with this approach, rather than relying on staff members to source young talent.
My strategy for developing young talent is nothing revolutionary: it consists of hiring the best possible coaches, optimise the youth facilities and either loan out or retain in the senior squad under our staff’s guidance. Generally, the closer the player is to the first team, the more likely I am to retain him than loan out.
So with this in mind, here are a few players that we signed for the U20 squad, along with a couple who were almost ready for the first team:
New youth signings
Simone Tononi was signed on a free transfer, and is a good young goalkeeper that has some impressive technical skills. I’ve been unable to find a loan club for him yet, but feel that will help him.
Ismael was signed on a free transfer from Real Madrid reserves, and has impressive physical skills and some key defensive attributes too. He has limited technical ability but this can easily be coached by working on traits to play a simple passing game and to stay back at all times. He has increased in value quickly and will play for the U20s this season.
Gianmarco Ilari was another free transfer signing and will have to show some improvement before stepping up to the U20s to play on a regular basis. He is on the development list to find a loan club, but at the moment is some way off the required level.
Marco Pino possesses some good defensive attributes although this is somewhat hindered by poor technical skills. Like Pino and Ilari he is on the development list but he may blossom into a potential Serie B defender.
Players out on loan
Alex Furlan has some good attributes for a striker, but is some way off the first team. I feel that he could develop into a good Serie B striker in the future, but needs to improve his technical skills
Dani Albiar was signed on a free transfer last season, and has some impressive pace along with technical skills. For a midfielder a Passing attribute of 10 causes some concern, as do his mental attributes, but again he could blossom into a Serie B player. I felt some time out on loan would be a good option for him.
Di Giorgio has not quite developed as I’d hoped; he has some good attacking and physical attributes, yet only scored 6 goals on loan last season. I feel that one more year out on loan will benefit him, and at 19 still has time on his side.
Summer transfer activity
Toplica Jovanovic cost £1.6m and I feel he can develop into a real superstar, with superb attacking ability. He needs to work on his mental skills somewhat, but is pencilled in for a backup role behind Filopovic.
Vlado Filipovic was signed for £500k over the summer to partly compensate for the Teuchert departure. I feel that he will also blossom into a top talent and has better all round skills than Jovanovic at the moment, but they will both be able to play in the first team when required. He has good height as well as good pace and I have high hopes for him.
Kays Ruiz joined for £350k from PSG and can play in either the midfield or attacking midfield role on the left. He will provide backup for Capanni and is an excellent age to develop further. He can be a useful asset late in games, and also has a good core set of mental attributes.
Gabriele Capanni was re-signed on loan from Milan and again fits the template of good pace, determination and technical skills for a first team player. He is in the final year of his contract at Milan and is definitely on the radar for a Bosman signing if the opportunity arises.
Alessandro Murgia became my record signing for £4.2m from Bournemouth, as I wanted to substantially upgrade my central midfield options. At 26 he is somewhat older than I would like, but has a very impressive array of technical, physical and mental skills. He is earmarked for a box-to-box role in midfield but may also operate as a Mezzala.
Anders Dreyer was signed for a bargain £275k from Brighton and felt that he could compete with Fabrice Hartmann in the right midfield position. He has good technical ability and also impressive pace, and was irresistible at the price as I was looking to build up the squad and rely less on loans than in previous seasons.
Ki-Jana Hoever would compete with Adam Lewis for the left-back role, and signed on a loan deal from Liverpool for no fee. He has good all round ability and would add depth to our defensive options, with the ability to operate at right-back.
Maxence Caqueret was signed on loan as a replacement for Max Christiansen who left us for £2.7m in the summer. He operates in the defensive midfield area, and I aim to use him as a half-back against the league’s better teams. He possesses good technique and vision, and could also be deployed as a deep-lying playmaker if I wanted to be more positive. I was unable to find a permanent replacement for Christiansen, so I felt that this was an excellent option.
After the departure of Simone Cortinovis, Jose Juan Sanchez was signed for £825k as a replacement and also as backup for Seydou Sy. He has good technical goalkeeping ability and has time on his side to improve at 19.
The 2022/23 season includes a prolonged winter break due to the Qatar World Cup, which makes for a lopsided second half to the season. The first half concludes in Serie A at the end of October, with games not resuming until January 4th 2023.
After 15 games we were nicely nestled in 8th, having lost only 3 games, a huge progression on the same point last season:
A very pleasing aspect of this has been the vast improvement defensively, conceding 12 goals in 15. Results show a good level of consistency, stringing 2 and also 3 wins together early in the season.
A change of club
Things were progressing well at Trieste and I felt that everything was going in the right direction. However as I said in previous post, I did speak to other Premiership clubs about taking over but was rejected for requesting a larger transfer budget than I was being provided with. In addition. having managed in the Premiership in previous versions of the game, I was less motivated by a move to England.
The Lazio job became available and I instantly thought that it would be an attractive proposition. Finances are not in the best condition but there are a number of high earners that can be moved on. The squad is somewhat old, much more so than I would like, so the restructuring aspect of the job definitely appealed.
The club had obviously been heavily under-performing, standing in 16th place when I took over:
I joined on a one-year deal in February, both of which are not ideal, given that I wouldn’t be able to make any major changes to the squad before the Summer window.
I also wanted more than a one year deal, but this was made non-negotiable by the Lazio board, so I was pushed into a corner. However, I felt that the risk was worth taking. So here I am at one of the powerhouses of Italian football.
More to come in the next update! Thanks for reading.
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